On demand feeding for Bichons has some advantages and disadvantages. Feeding on demand is the opposite of a dog feeding schedule. Free feeding or demand feeding is definitely easier for the pet owner.
It takes the pressure off you to be home at feeding time and to give your dog his food at the same time each day. Unlike dogs who are fed on a schedule, dogs fed on demand do not beg or otherwise tell you that you need to feed them NOW.
On demand feeding is used by kennels, breeders and people who can’t be home during the day to give their dogs a second meal.
If you think that you might like this method of feeding for your Bichon, there are a couple of things that you should consider.
Here’s how it works: You simply fill a dish or feed hopper and keep it filled, so that your dog can help himself when he feels like eating. That’s for dry food.
If you use moist or canned food, you need to use less and add to the bowl more frequently, as it will have a tendency to dry out or get spoiled. Obviously this becomes more work, instead of less.
Howevwer, feeding on demand is usually the simplest method of feeding your dog.
Advantages of Self Feeding
There are some advantages to using the feeding on demand method:
- It eliminates having a dog feeding schedule. This frees up your time. If you’re late coming home from work or shopping or if you have to be away from home longer than expected, you don’t have to worry that your dog is not getting her next meal.
- Your dog paces himself by eating small amounts more frequently during the day, he will have a more constant level of nutrients and blood sugar in his bloodstream.
- If your dog has the nasty habit of eating poop, on demand dog feeding can eliminate coprophagy. It’s not always that simple, so I wouldn’t change my dog’s eating habits for this reason alone.
- If you have more than one dog, free feeding allows the more passive dog to get its share, after everyone else has eaten. On the other hand, this sometimes backfires. If you have a more aggressive dog, he can take food from the others–sometimes leading to a weight problem for him.
Disadvantages of On Demand Feeding
I have to say…This simple system all sounds pretty good. However, there are some disadvantages to consider when you are thinking about self-feeding. Especially if you have a large breed dog, in addition to your Bichon Frise.
- Without supervision, some dogs eat too fast. Large chested dogs are prone to dog bloat, a serious condition that can be fatal. Left alone to eat, they can eat too fast and develop bloat.
- Dogs don’t necessarily stop eating when they have had enough. Many will just keep eating. If you don’t monitor what’s going on, you may end up with one fat dog!
- Boredom is another issue. If your dog is bored or doesn’t get enough exercise, he may eat too much and gain too much weight. Dogs who are self-feeding can easily become obese.
- Exactly the opposite can also occur. If your dog has become used to the fun and excitement of mealtime, he may “hold out” for the experience–and not eat. When he does this, he could lose too much weight
- The feeding process becomes impersonal when you use self-feeding with your dog. You both miss out on the bonding and fun and the excitement of mealtime.
Housebreaking your Puppy
Perhaps the most compelling reason to feed your dog on a schedule is housetraining your puppy. Until your dog is completely housebroken, you should feed her at regular times during the day.
When you feed your dog at regular times, she will have regular bathroom habits. Otherwise, you may have trouble with potty training, and it can drag on for a long time!
When your dog is completely housetrained, you can use the on demand feeding system, but not until then.
Automatic Dog Feeders
There is another alternative to consider, if you can’t be at home to feed your dog on a strict feeding schedule.
The WOPET Automatic dog feeder can be programmed to release food on a schedule that you set. And you can decide on how much should be released, and how often. This part is cool. You can operate this feeder from your smart phone.
While the WOPET feeder is definitely not as personal as feeding your Bichon in person, it does have some interesting capabilities. You can record your own voice, so that the machine can tell your dog when his meal is ready, or it can talk to him while he’s eating.
You can program the machine for a couple of meals or lots of little meals, simulating on demand feeding. If your dog tends to eat too fast, you might supervise her until she gets used to her new feeder.
Of course nothing beats spending time with your dog and feeding her. However, if you can’t be home at meal time, these options can help you feed your dog when she is hungry.